Bad Reputation | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Bad Reputation 

Also: Suicide Precautions, Patio Dining

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Bad Reputation
Black eye or thumbs up? Those seem to be the choices as two of Utah's ex-attorneys general meet their arrest warrants head-on. But for all the back-slapping, you'd think the charges were actually a good thing. "What do the charges and arrests say about Utah?" asks the Deseret News. "Ex-A.G.'s charges: a black eye, a silver lining," intones The Salt Lake Tribune. Then, of course, there's the huge front-page photo in the D-News of Mark Shurtleff hugging his daughter. How many officials have called this a sad day for the state, but gee, look how brave we are by arresting our own? The fixes have run the gamut from appointing the A.G. to somehow getting money out of politics, according to the Trib. But face the reality: Corruption happens, and it happens easiest when citizens pass on anything Mormon and Republican as good.

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Suicide Precautions
There's no scarcity of news about suicides just as there's no dearth of theories about how they morph into epidemics. So it's with both sadness and fear that Utahns try to process the self-immolation of John Christopher Wallace, the 30-year-old artist who leaped into a bonfire at Burning Man event Element 11. A certain drama and allure accompanied the news. Wallace's art suddenly became valuable and a source of fundraising for his funeral. Apparently not depressed, Wallace had taken a hallucinogen that may have motivated his act. But, as the author Malcolm Gladwell suggests, once an act is embraced, it can grow others like it. Beware the dark appeal of suicide news.

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Patio Dining
You know the Avenues—funky, gentrified and mixed in every sense of the word. But when Kathie Chadbourne tried to attach a patio area to her Avenues Bistro restaurant, some neighbors complained. Four neighbors, to be exact. They didn't like fighting for parking, the noise or the mess, although the restaurant is well-kept and landscaped. This is not a new issue for the city. The Dodo was forced to move from a neighborhood on 2300 East after similar complaints. But the Avenues is different, and the city's planning commission voted unanimously to allow Avenues Bistro's patio. That should be a message for the city council, which is dragging its feet on approval.

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